Ola Gjeilo is one of the most frequently performed composers in the choral world. An accomplished pianist, improvisations over his own published choral pieces have become a trademark of his collaborations. Although Norwegian by birth, it is perhaps Ola’s adopted country of America that has influenced the composer’s distinctive soundworld the most, evolving a style that is often described as cinematic and evocative, with a lush, harmonious sound.
Ola grew up in a musically eclectic home listening to classical, jazz, pop and folk, a broad background he later incorporated into his classical composition studies at The Juilliard School, the Royal College of Music in London, and currently as a New York City-based freelance composer. He is especially inspired by the improvisational art of film composer Thomas Newman, jazz legends Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny, glass artist Dale Chihuly and architect Frank Gehry.
Ola’s albums include the bestselling Ola Gjeilo and Winter Songs on the Decca Classics label, featuring Tenebrae, Voces8 and the Choir of Royal Holloway. He also has two piano albums on the 2L label; Stone Rose and Piano Improvisations. All four recordings are available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and all major platforms.
In 2015, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge performed Ola’s Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) at the annual BBC-televised Christmas Eve service. He is currently composer-in-residence with DCINY.